Santi Cements Her Sound

Bulelwa Mthombothi

Santigold - Master Of My Make Believe

Unconventional is one way to describe Santi White or Santigold (formerly Santogold) as her audience has come to know her. Santi’s sophomore offering Master of My Make-Believe showcases more of her powerful lyrical prowess and solidifies the direction in which she is heading with her sound.


The title of the album lets us know that Santi is in charge, the first song on the album titled GO says just that, as the first words she sings are ‘People want my power and they want my station. Stormed my winter palace but they couldn’t take it’. Songs like God from a Machine and Look at These Ho*s cement her place on the throne. The album cover shows Santi dressed in different outfits as different characters, the most important being a man in a suit on the throne with ‘his’ gold one-piece clad vixens on either side. The image just drives forth the message of Santi in control of it all.

The album is a mash up of different sounds and genres just like her debut Santogold was but the difference this time around is her lyrical content. It is strong and meaningful in a societal context unlike most of the pop we inherit from musicians which is linked to romantic depression. Santi alerts us to the plight of those fighting for a chance to be better and reach their dreams in the critically acclaimed and audience favourite, Disparate Youth she sings ‘Oh ah, oh ah. We know now we want more. Oh ah, oh ah. A life worth fighting for’.

Her colourful urban vintage style adds to her artistic identity and forms part of her overall message of embracing every aspect of self and the true meaning of artistry which is to express oneself. Just as Rolling Stone?s Judy Rosen describes the album as ‘fashionable art-pop hodgepodge’. She can carry a tune and she can rap, she makes use of every too she has to drive her messae forth and with producers who themselves are fond of experimenting it is no wonder why Santi is everywhere on this album.

Since Santogold her music has grown immensely, her message has been refined and her production although still up tempo is more still allowing the lyrics to sink in whether rapped or sung. In Santigold you could draw closer resemblance to M.I.A’s alternative/electro sound, but this album has no close resemblance to the work of any other artist at the moment. Santi stands alone, isolated from the pop mould that listeners gravitate towards. In the short term this isolation could curb album sales but, this is her establishing her own sound and finding her place in the music industry and could later work to her advantage because true fans appreciate authenticity


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